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Calithera Biosciences Closes $40 Million in Series A Financing
Date:7/8/2010

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Calithera Biosciences, a company developing novel oncology therapeutics, today announced the completion of a Series A financing totaling $40 million.  Morgenthaler Ventures led the financing with U.S. Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, Delphi Ventures and Mission Bay Capital also participating in the round.  The capital will be used to support the company's pioneering efforts to develop activators of caspases, the proteases that promote apoptotic cell death, for the treatment of cancer and other proliferative diseases.  

"Promoting apoptosis in cancer cells is a validated approach to the treatment of cancer, as many oncology drugs on the market today are known to kill tumor cells by activating apoptotic pathways, albeit through indirect means," said Susan Molineaux, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Calithera.  "By targeting caspases directly, we hope to develop agents that have broad utility across many types of cancer, with greater specificity than current treatments and the potential to overcome chemoresistance."

Calithera's technology was developed by and licensed from the laboratory of co-founder James Wells, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy.  Dr. Wells's laboratory has successfully identified several novel compounds that selectively activate procaspases and trigger apoptosis in cancer cells.  Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance one or more caspase activators through preclinical development and into Phase 1 clinical trials in cancer patients.  In parallel, the company will ex
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